Usually my summer breaks consist of relaxing and catching up with old friends, however, this summer I decided to get involved with a new summer program here on campus called The Bridge Partnership. It was one of the best experiences of my life!
What is the Bridge Partnership?
The Bridge Partnership is a brand new program that was developed by our President Dana Mohler-Faria, Kelly Hess, Mark Conrad and many others. The program partners Bridgewater State University students with the children from Roosevelt Middle School in New Bedford. A lot of children in New Bedford grow up in an underprivileged atmosphere where they are given very few opportunities to succeed. These children came from homes with poor living conditions and many of them have never been outside of their hometown.
The Program was separated into two different sessions with identical schedules. While here, the children were able to experience wonderful things like living on a college campus, going to Fenway Park, cruising through Boston Harbor, or watching a show put on by the BSU Police Department. Most importantly, these children came here to learn. They attended classes in the mornings and had homework time in the afternoon. In addition to the knowledge gained during this program, the plan is for these children to be followed through high school, so that when graduation comes around, BSU will be able to offer them scholarships. As program assistants, we were with them every step of the way. We helped them with their homework, ate meals together, and stuck around until nightfall to put them to bed. During this program, my fellow program assistants and I bonded with them on a level I never saw coming.
Why is the Bridge Partnership important?
The Bridge Partnership changed their lives by giving them hope as well as an opportunity to succeed. The kids that weren’t that excited in the beginning had tears in their eyes when it was time to leave- and they were not the only ones. These kids became like younger brothers and sisters to me and the other members on the staff and we were just as sad to see them go. The connections that we made with these children were incredible even though it was such a short period of time. The program also taught me leadership skills and improved my teamwork. This summer was one of my favorites and The Bridge Partnership was a big part of that.
What Did you do over your summer vacation? Are you excited to be back at BSU?